Mamphela Ramphele. File picture: Mike Hutchings

Cape Town - Agang SA founder Mamphela Ramphele had become a “burden” and a “poison” to the party she created, says party deputy Andries Tlouamma, who described her departure from active politics as a “victory” for democracy.

He said Agang chairman Mike Tshishonga would now be the acting president until the party convened its elective congress next year.

Before her decision to leave politics, Ramphele had also taken her internal party battle to the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, asking her to remove Tlouamma and Tshishonga as Agang MPs in the National Assembly.

“Our leader was under pressure from structures that she must be accountable where she was implicated in the fraudulent use of our account,” said Tlouamma.

Last month Tshishonga opened a case of fraud against Ramphele, saying she had opened a bank account to directly access deposits from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) without permission from the party.

Tlouamma said her decision was “the best decision she has ever made in her life”.

Asked about the letter to the Speaker, Tlouamma said the last time he heard anything from Ramphele was when he was “expelled” last week.

“The last time I heard I was going to a disciplinary hearing. The last time I heard (anything) I was suspended on the 19th. It was just frustration and people trying to hide from the truth,” said Tlouamma.

On her decision to leave politics? “It’s a victory for democracy. As much as she has formed this political party, she was becoming a burden, a poison of her own child. This is a sign that when you form a political party it becomes a public entity.

“Citizens of this country who join that particular party become owners and I want to say to all political leaders who form political parties to realise that that is not their ATM machine,” said Tlouamma.

Spokesman for Parliament Luzuko Jacobs confirmed that Ramphele had written to Mbete.

“… normally correspondence is dealt with through the party. So I don’t want to comment on that,” said Jacobs.

He said the Speaker had not yet responded to Ramphele’s letter and request.

In a statement announcing her decision, Ramphele said: “I have decided to leave party politics and return to working alongside my fellow citizens in civil society to pursue the dream of transforming ours into a more just and prosperous society.

“I return to civil society to continue to pursue the idealism that has driven me all my life as an active citizen.”

Cape Times